Halloween is coming, with its ghosties and ghouls, but in Spain the holiday is much more than a commercial event for children. In fact, Halloween in Spain is unique (particularly when compared to the extravagant celebrations In America or in other parts of Europe) because it has a more traditional feeling, celebrating the continuity of life and honouring the dead. Here’s everything you need to know about celebrating Halloween in Spain:
A Three-Day Event
In Spain, Halloween is known as El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead or All Souls Day), and rather than being celebrated on just a single night, Halloween in Spain is considered to be a three-day event. This event is split into three distinct celebrations: Dia de las Brujas (Day of the Witches) on October 31st, followed by Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) on November 1st, and the largest event is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 2nd.
The rituals of these days are very similar to those you would see in Mexico, or other Spanish-speaking nations. The dead are honoured, and on All Saints Day, family members choose to gather around the graves of their ancestors, sharing food and drink, celebrating and socialising.
Celebrating Halloween in Malaga
Beautiful decorations and floral adornments take centre-stage if you’re celebrating Halloween in Malaga. Both the English Cemetery and the Botanical Garden organize themed events where you can admire the décor and give yourself a fright, whilst the Port plays host to a Halloween fair, which is known as the Pechá Zombies Party. The whole city will be teaming with witches, zombies and vampires, as children in the region love to dress up, and you can also take a walk around Soho, or one of the city’s many residential areas, to enjoy the decorations that home owners add to their windows and the front of their homes. Many bars and restaurants are also offering Halloween themed dining experiences or parties for Halloween: expect low lighting and a creepy atmosphere.
It’s important to note that due to COVID-19 restrictions, masks are obligatory if you’re planning to enjoy a walk around the city to soak up the Halloween atmosphere (why not incorporate yours into your outfit to fit the Halloween theme) and that if you intend to attend a Halloween party or event then these should be booked in advance, as capacity will be reduced in order to meet government social distancing guidelines.
Celebrating Halloween in Barcelona and Catalonia
Generally, Halloween in Spain is considered in one of two ways: as a fun holiday for children, or as a spiritual event for families to honour the dead. But in densely populated cities with large cohorts of young people, or university cities, Halloween is considered a cause for late night celebration, and an excuse for elaborate costume parties. This is the case in Barcelona. On 31st October, the cities many bars and nightclubs will celebrate Halloween fiestas with great flourish, whilst elsewhere in Catalonia on 1st November, the Catalan tradition of La Castanyada will be celebrated.
La Castanyada is a popular All Saints Day festival that sees various events, music concerts, and stalls filled with seasonal delicacies pop up across the region. These tasty, sweet autumnal delicacies are worth visiting the region for in themselves. This autumn fair always has a party atmosphere, and is a great way to get to know the locals in your region, if you’ve recently moved to Barcelona.
Celebrating Halloween Elsewhere in Spain
If you’re planning on celebrating Halloween elsewhere in Spain, then there are several areas that are notable for the quality and tradition of their celebrations. In Madrid, you can take part in a crazy Halloween pub crawl, whilst in the vibrant university town of Alcalá de Henares you can take part in a killer zombie march.
In Cadiz, a unique celebration called Fiesta de Tosantos is celebrated on 31st October. Although technically not a halloween event, this is a celebration of humour and satire, with street performances throughout the city and even market vendors turning their wares into displays that highlight the satirical scandals of the day.
Choosing Your Halloween Costumes
In America and in the UK, Halloween costumes are often chosen from pop culture, and it is not unusual to see both children and adults dressed up as their favourite cartoon character, pop star or book. In Spain, however, Halloween costumes always have a touch of the macabre and everyone chooses spooky characters for their costumes. If you’re looking to buy a new costume for your Halloween in Spain then think ghosts and ghouls, witches and warlocks, werewolves and zombies. The scarier the better is a good rule of thumb for this spooky celebration!
Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Perhaps you’ve always imagined having your own Spanish holiday home, where you can spend time for holidays such as Halloween and Christmas? Whatever your dream, or locally based property experts are perfectly placed to help. Why not get in touch today to find out more about how we can help you to turn your dream into a reality.